All 15,000 Preview Night-plus four-day badges for the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con are sold out, according to to the convention’s official website. But those eager to attend next year’s comic book extravaganza shouldn’t flip out. Tickets for the general public aren’t on sale yet. Event goers this year were allowed first access to pre-register for tickets, and the Preview Night badges went fast. In fact, according to a report by The North County Times, they were completely gone by Sunday at 3 P.M. For clarity’s sake, I think this definitely deserves a little bit more explanation.
First, understand that they will still have four-day badges on sale in August. The badges that sold out were the four-day badges with access to Preview Night on Wednesday, which allows attendees to get in early before the events truly kick off on Thursday. Second, know that this year was the first to have Preview Night limited to a certain amount of people. Previously, people with four-day badges were given the special privilege to get into the convention center before anyone else. However, as attendance has seen a rapid spike in the past few years, they decided to cap the access to make sure those that wanted to roam the exhibit hall had a chance to do so in significantly less crowded conditions. Hit the jump for more news about what lies in store for Comic-Con in 2011 and beyond, and what it was like to roam the exhibit hall this year on Preview Night.
While this was my first year to experience Comic-Con, I was unprepared for the sheer mass of crowds that seems to flow in almost ever direction once you enter the exhibit hall. As the Collider staff got our badges Wednesday, we hit the floor to explore and it wasn’t too bad, that night. Were there a ton of people? Absolutely, but it was nothing compared to the next few days in the exhibit hall where you often struggled to get away from certain attractions that seemed to pull people in like quicksand. I can see why certain people, especially those with small children, would relish the limited access that Preview Night provides now. Last year, these very same passes sold out in October, but this year, the event wasn’t even over before all 15,000 were gone; it is unclear what the cap was for this year’s convention.
According to the report, annual attendance is over 120,000 and the event brings in an estimated $163 million to the local economy. Comic-Con has been labeled “recession-proof,” and the current contract with San Diego expires in 2012. Many locales, like L.A. and Las Vegas, are starting to make enticing offers to attract the event but nothing has been signed yet. San Diego has also made a proposal to extend the contract beyond 2012, but they are still awaiting a decision. “We believe we’ve put together the best proposal possible,” Darren Pudgil, a spokesman for San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, said*. “We hope they return to San Diego for many years to come.”